The last time TCU played a conference game in a league it wanted to be in, the Frogs lost 38-6 at home to Texas A&M. It was Nov. 25, 1995, and the Southwest Conference was one week from its final football game ever.
Almost 17 years later, TCU is back where it wants to be. The Frogs have replaced A&M, ironically, in the Big 12 and play at Kansas on Saturday in the first league game of 2012.
One game won't tell TCU what it's signed up for, especially since that one game is Kansas.
“You've got to play everybody two years,” Frog coach Gary Patterson said, “You've got to play them there and back ... to experience all the nuances.”
Patterson should know. This will be his third conference change in his 13 seasons running Frog football. TCU moved from the Western Athletic Conference to Conference USA in 2001, then jumped to the Mountain West in 2005.
TCU didn't win Conference USA that maiden season, but in 2005, after upsetting OU in the season opener, the Frogs did storm through the Mountain West and won the conference with an 8-0 record.
But don't get any bright ideas about a repeat performance in Year 1 of the Big 12.
“It's not going to be about how we do this year,” Patterson said. “It's going to be how we do in the first three to five years.
“The sun, someday, is going to come up at TCU .... we just don't know if it's going to be next year or this season or down the road.”